Perspective-taking, empathy in suttas?

Yes. More is required. In particular I am looking at SN35.88, thinking that both empathy and sympathy will fail one here:

SN35.88:15.1: “But if they do take your life with a sharp knife, what will you think of them then?”
SN35.88:16.1: “If they take my life with a sharp knife, I’ll think: ‘There are disciples of the Buddha who looked for someone to assist with slitting their wrists because they were horrified, repelled, and disgusted with the body and with life. And I have found this without looking!’

Here I think that only compassion and relinquishment of identity view will serve. This is for me one of the toughest suttas I have encountered, stark and demanding as it stands.

The Buddha concludes by declaring Puṇṇa an arahant:

SN35.88:20.2: Puṇṇa has become completely extinguished.”

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Thanks for this sutta @karl_lew . Quite impressive indeed. It reminds me of the simile of the saw except it is about having loving-kindness.

In this sutta it is more a change of mental perspective to find good things and relativize the perspective of being killed. The sutta goes like a descending arrow to imagine the worst that could happen and prepare oneself mentally. It is quite demanding as you say ! I suppose many people would find the last thought and attitude not instinctual (except if one wanted to commit suicide) ! Accepting death of his body shows he is ready to go to this brutal country.

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Perspective-taking is perhaps implied in Ud5.4:

…Then the Gracious One, having dressed in the morning time, after picking up his bowl and robe, was entering Sāvatthī for alms. The Gracious One saw those many young boys who were between Sāvatthī and Jeta’s Wood catching fish. Having seen that, he went to those young boys, and after going, he said this to those young boys: “Are you afraid, boys, of suffering? Is suffering unpleasant to you?”

“Yes, reverend Sir, we are afraid of suffering, suffering is unpleasant to us.”

Then the Gracious One, having understood the significance of it, on that occasion uttered this exalted utterance:

“If you have fear of suffering, if suffering is unpleasant to you,
Don’t do any bad deeds, whether in the open or in secret.

“But if you will do, or now do do bad deeds,
For you there is no freedom from suffering, even after going, while running away.”

Another question is to what degree perspective taking and empathy are a consequence of understanding one’s own experience of suffering and pleasure?

IMO, since we cannot actually experience what other people are going through, perhaps all empathy and perspective-taking is ultimately modeled on our own experience and worldviews.

E.g. it’s when you go through a really bad experience you can think “wow I don’t wish this on anyone”, but before that one was kind of oblivious to what going through it actually is like.